California | Gay Marriage | News | Proposition 8

Courage Campaign and Lambda Legal Redirect Prop 8 Repeal Efforts to 2012

The Courage Campaign and Lambda Legal both released statements yesterday afternoon announcing that they were redirecting efforts toward 2012 as a target date for the repeal of Proposition 8 rather than 2010. The move leaves Love Honor Cherish, which two weeks ago launched a massive signature campaign, as the leader in the 2010 Repeal campaign. They have indicated their work will continue.

Repealprop82010 Said the Courage Campaign in a statement:

"The Courage Campaign today called for more research and time to change hearts and minds before returning to the ballot to restore marriage for gay and lesbian couples in California. At least one initiative to restore same-sex marriage is currently circulating that, if it qualifies, would appear on the November, 2010 ballot. The Courage Campaign, in partnership with Lambda Legal, has recently concluded the first phase of extensive and groundbreaking research about public beliefs and concerns about marriage and homosexuality. It confirmed that attitudes are shifting steadily toward equal treatment of same-sex couples, and that conversations among family members and other close relationships inevitably speed the process. The statement released today is concurrent with a Lambda Legal statement."

Said founder and chair Rick Jacobs: "For months, we have laid out the criteria for moving forward. Like the Obama Campaign, we understand that we need a combination of powerful and clear research that informs an expertly run campaign, an unstoppable movement that harnesses the new energy we have seen since the passage of Prop. 8 and the connections through personal stories and outreach in order to win at the ballot box," said Rick Jacobs, the Courage Campaign founder and Chair. "We are taking the lessons learned from last year's Prop. 8 campaign, the campaigns in Maine and other states to understand the fundamental work that must be done before moving forward in California. We also must come together as a community to create a broad coalition and governance structure, put in place a strong manager and secure the resources to win. Right now, the pieces are not all in place to do so confidently."

Some are asking to see the Courage Campaign's research, which doesn't seem like an unreasonable request.

Lambda Legal released a similar statement.

Said Jennifer C. Pizer, Marriage Project Director for Lambda Legal: "Over the past year since Prop 8's passage, we've expanded our community education in California and have seen the remarkable national progress exert a positive influence here. We've seen our many community groups collaborating as never before. With the great field operations of the Courage Campaign, Vote for Equality, Equality California and countless new activists and allies across the state, the next two years hold great promise. This work complements the efforts within California's racial and ethnic minority communities and within the state's diverse communities of faith. There has never been any doubt that the LGBT community and our friends and allies will restore marriage equality in California – the only question has been when. We now believe it's November 2012."

As Equality California has already indicated in intended to make 2012 its target date for repeal efforts, this leaves Love Honor Cherish as the sole group spearheading efforts for a 2012 repeal. Two weeks ago they launched a massive signature drive that will continue.

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  1. It seems like courage is a misnomer for this campaign. Why wait? Try now, if it doesn't work go to the courts. Then go back again, and again and again. In the meantime educate. This is a sad story to run when it is World'sAids Day. Think of all the courage that it takes to go on with AIDS, and we worry about hurting peoples feelings about marriage. What has the community come to. No wonder there are no leaders in the community today, except the bloggers.

    Posted by: QueenZafrona | Dec 1, 2009 7:57:23 AM

  2. You don't put this issue on the ballot unless you are nearly certain you can win. Our embarrassing losses in California and Maine has already hurt our cost immeasurably. Our inability to get legislatures to pass gay marriage in New York and Maine is partly due to the perception that our cause is unpopular with voters and politically hazardous. ENDA and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell appear to have stalled as Democrats are concerned that supporting our causes will jeopardize their political future in 2010. Polling indicates that people are not any more supportive of gay marriage than they were in 2008, and we know that polls underestimate the anti-gay vote. Further, the community should not go forward with a ballot initiative until we have built alliances with other groups and organizations. We have done very little outreach to religious groups or ethnic minorities, which needs to be done before even think about going forward.

    Posted by: Lucas | Dec 1, 2009 8:54:20 AM

  3. everyone saw this coming. LHC is not going to be able to get this on the ballot. their operation is quite dismal. i'm glad courage decided to pull out and do the right thing.

    Posted by: tony | Dec 1, 2009 10:44:23 AM

  4. This is a statement by Love Honor Cherish:

    We respect Courage Campaign’s decision not to participate in the campaign to restore marriage equality in 2010. Every organization must focus its attention and resources on its most important priorities, and for the Courage Campaign those priorities include numerous progressive causes other than securing same-sex marriage rights.

    Meanwhile, we invite individual members of Courage, 80 percent of whom voted to support returning to the ballot in 2010, to join the Sign For Equality campaign. You will join thousands of people across California who have made this campaign their highest priority, and who are busy gathering signatures now.

    Posted by: Lester Aponte | Dec 1, 2009 11:24:38 AM

  5. I for one can't go through another devastating loss, and I am not looking forward to subjecting my children to the assault of having to see "Protect Marriage" yard signs every day on their way to school. It also will be hard to raise money for 2010. I doubt I will sign the petition. Winning in 2012 is better than losing in 2010, and we will lose even if this gets on the ballot.

    In addition, if you follow the federal Prop 8 lawsuit, it looks very likely that by late winter or early spring of next year, Prop 8 will have been invalidated. I asked an LHC Board member what their approach would be if that happened, and apparently they hadn't even thought about it (and my impression is they don't want the lawsuit to succeed because they want to be the heroes). If Prop 8 is invalidated, telling voters "Overturn Prop 8 again in case the Supreme Court reinstates it in 2 years!" is hardly an inspiring message. It won't change people's minds or get them to the polls, and it sure as hell won't get them to open their wallets.

    The LHC campaign is a disaster in the making. To regain marriage equality, we have to work very hard -- but also very smart.

    Posted by: Brian | Dec 1, 2009 11:54:26 AM

  6. "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom." - Martin Luther King Jr

    Posted by: Martin | Dec 1, 2009 12:10:07 PM

  7. Here's another good one: "To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice." Confucius

    Posted by: David | Dec 1, 2009 12:15:41 PM

  8. Once again we have been lied to and betrayed by our own self-appointed leaders. Courage Campaign sent out an urgent request for money asking for funding for this research IF we wanted to see a campaign in 2010. Those who passionately wanted them to come onboard donated on that premise. Courage never meant it. Now they are telling us,give us more money we are the cool kids. Screw that. Say what you want about LHC but they do as they say and say what they mean.

    Posted by: Gerald | Dec 1, 2009 12:22:07 PM

  9. @Brian- If Prop 8 is invalidated by the Supreme Court before the election in Nov. 2010 then the ballot initiative to overturn Prop 8 would simply be removed from the ballot or just ignored. It would be irrelevant and unnecessary. That is no reason to not work toward overturning it sooner rather than later. And I am so sad that you couldn't possibly go through another "devastating loss". I feel for you. Thank goodness there are lots of us who are willing to keep at it, win or lose, because eventually we will win. Where would we be if everyone gave up so easily?

    What I would like to ask Equality California and The Courage Campaign is:
    What are you going to do with the money you are collecting to overturn Prop 8 in 2012 if it gets overturned at the ballot in 2010 or by the courts (most likely) before then?
    Will you be giving everybody a refund on their donations?
    Putting this off just seems like a great way to keep the dollars flowing in while somebody else actually gets the job done.

    Posted by: Jeffrey | Dec 1, 2009 1:35:03 PM

  10. Californians have voted on this. They said NO to same sex marriage.

    I think it is now time for the gay community to step up and show some real leadership on the issue.

    I am sick of sending money all over the country to fund this effort when everyone isn't pulling their weight.

    I don't think it's enough to appeal to people's sense of right and wrong as long as the conservatives can so easily appeal to people's fear as they have done in every election so far.

    Until we as a community can better address this problem with better leadership and greater commitment from our community, I fear this is WORSE than a losing proposition, it will bury the issue for our life times.

    Even worse, in a more frightening scenario, putting this on the ballot on 12 will rally the conservative right to vote for the republican presidential candidate. At the very least, Obama will be forced to say the same old "marriage is between a man and a woman" nonsense just to try and get reelected thus emboldening the right and spurring many gays to sit out the election or vote for a third party candidate to spite obama.

    What is the downside to waiting a few more years?

    1. Pick a date that is DOable. 2014? 2016? Or 2020?

    2. Create a single entity/leader/voice whose sole purpose is to repeal prop 8. All other organizations would defer to this single group. We need an MLK, someone who can appeal to people's hearts to combat the fear that the majority feels about this issue.

    3. Create a war chest. Instead of giving a little in the short term, everyone can donate a little for several years creating a fund that will be difficult if not impossible for the mormons, catholics and minority communities who oppose this to match.

    4. Community outreach. If there is to be success in this effort, minds must be changed. This doesn't happen quickly. We need a plan and time to enact it.

    5. One thing that will help, get your friends to come out of the closet. Nothing changes minds more quickly than coming out. It is AMAZING to me the people I know in their 30's and 40's who aren't even out to their families and co-workers. This silence equals shame. And as long as we feel this shame we are empowering the right to use this shame to create their primary weapon--fear.

    This is an incredibly important issue. No, it is not fair to have anything less than equality, but going down the same path when all the variables are the same just doesn't make sense.

    Posted by: DMS | Dec 1, 2009 1:46:19 PM

  11. All we need is a successful commercial campaign. One that gets tough and fights fire with fire. Make people fear the religious bigots more than they fear us, and we win. That can be done in 2010.

    Posted by: Jeffrey | Dec 1, 2009 2:49:12 PM

  12. @Jeffrey: The Supreme Court won't have invalidated Prop 8 by next year's election. Regardless of how Judge Walker rules (and he seems to be with us), the case will be in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals next November, and likely not briefed and heard until the following year. So next year we could have a scenario in which Prop 8 is invalid but still could be reinstated by the Ninth Circuit (not likely) or the Supreme Court (not as likely as people think). I don't think LHC has any intention of abandoning its campaign based on just a lower court ruling. As I mentioned, I was very troubled that they apparently haven't given any thought at all to what they would do in that scenario.

    Posted by: Brian | Dec 1, 2009 5:01:20 PM

  13. I know the Supreme Court won't rule on the case before 2010-- I was referring to 2012.

    Posted by: Jeffrey | Dec 1, 2009 5:09:52 PM

  14. @Brian: . "So next year we could have a scenario in which Prop 8 is invalid but still could be reinstated by the Ninth Circuit"

    What do you mean? The court is ruling on whether denying equal marriage rights to all citizens is constitutional. Prop 8 could be overturned if they find it is not. If prop 8 is overturned by another proposition it can't be re-instated by the court. Maybe I am missing something in your statement but I don't understand what you are saying.

    Posted by: Jeffrey | Dec 1, 2009 5:35:02 PM

  15. It is unlikely we'll get a final decision by either 2010 or 2012.

    If anything, I think the federal courts will move more slowly than the state courts because it'll have some very serious implications nationally. And a final decision on same-sex marriage was delayed in the state court system for four years. The lawsuits were originally filed in 2004.

    That Prop. 8 ruling by the California Supreme Court was pretty absurd all the way around though. It basically asserted that there are no fundamental rights - and the same court had ruled that marriage was a fundamental right - the people cannot revoke through a ballot initiative. This seems to contradict several of the U.S. Supreme Court's previous decisions and is a horrible precedent to set.

    Posted by: John | Dec 1, 2009 6:01:58 PM

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